Bus drivers in demand as school districts develop plans for fall

As Maine schools develop plans for learning in the fall, one area that will see major changes is transportation.More bus drivers is at the top of the list for many school districts.”We may actually need to provide additional transportation. We can put so many fewer students on the bus if we are in a position to really social distance on the bus,” South Portland Superintendent Ken Kunin said.The state is aiming to find a creative way to deal with the need for more bus drivers, according to education commissioner Pender Makin.”Because of the workforce shortages that we are facing, a substitute and bus driver academy, the bus driver academy would offer a CDL license, partner with DOL. Laura Fortman is very eager to work for us on that. Shake the whole tree of Maine for anybody that might be interested in becoming a bus driver,” Makin told lawmakers last week.Regional School Unit 21 in Kennebunk is also looking for drivers. Interim Superintendent Steve Marquis said they have had five applicants recently.He said a big part of the equation is who will be riding the bus.”What we are working on to the best of our ability is what the ridership will look like in the coming year. We anticipate maybe more parent drop-offs, and our older students maybe driving more than taking the bus,” Marquis said.

As Maine schools develop plans for learning in the fall, one area that will see major changes is transportation.

More bus drivers is at the top of the list for many school districts.

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“We may actually need to provide additional transportation. We can put so many fewer students on the bus if we are in a position to really social distance on the bus,” South Portland Superintendent Ken Kunin said.

The state is aiming to find a creative way to deal with the need for more bus drivers, according to education commissioner Pender Makin.

“Because of the workforce shortages that we are facing, a substitute and bus driver academy, the bus driver academy would offer a CDL license, partner with DOL. Laura Fortman is very eager to work for us on that. Shake the whole tree of Maine for anybody that might be interested in becoming a bus driver,” Makin told lawmakers last week.

Regional School Unit 21 in Kennebunk is also looking for drivers. Interim Superintendent Steve Marquis said they have had five applicants recently.

He said a big part of the equation is who will be riding the bus.

“What we are working on to the best of our ability is what the ridership will look like in the coming year. We anticipate maybe more parent drop-offs, and our older students maybe driving more than taking the bus,” Marquis said.